Iowans remember Donna Red Wing

Iowa progressives have been mourning the loss of a longtime advocate for justice and LGBTQ equality this week. Since Donna Red Wing passed away on April 16, Iowans who knew her well have shared their reflections and stories. With permission, I’ve posted some of those comments below.

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Incumbents retiring in two battleground GOP-held Iowa Senate districts

During the last week before the filing deadline, Republican State Senators Mark Chelgren and Rick Bertrand announced that they will not seek re-election in 2018. Iowa Senate districts 41 and 7 were already the best Democratic pickup opportunities on a difficult midterm election map. Of the 29 Republicans now serving in the upper chamber, only four–Chelgren, Bertrand, Dan Dawson, and Tom Greene–hold seats where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans (barely in Dawson’s district). Dawson and Greene won’t be up for re-election until 2020.

Winning an open seat is usually easier than defeating a legislative incumbent, and Bertrand’s retirement clearly improves Democratic chances in Senate district 7.

But Republicans have likely increased their odds of holding Senate district 41 by swapping out Chelgren for Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

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Poll testing negative messages about Polk County candidate Matt McCoy

With the possible exception of Johnson County, nowhere in Iowa has seen more brutally hard-fought Democratic primaries than the south side of Des Moines. State Senator Matt McCoy’s decision to challenge Polk County Supervisor John Mauro has set up an “epic battle of the titans” in the county’s fifth district, covering most of the south side, plus downtown and central neighborhoods of the capital city (a map is at the end of this post).

A poll currently in the field includes positive information about both candidates but negative messages about McCoy alone.

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